E.g., 11/14/2019
E.g., 11/14/2019

Letter from the Guest Editor: What Clients Want, What Clients Need

By: Andy Jones (Nikon Precision) - Nikon Precision Inc.


04 March 2015

When GALA asked me if I would guest edit this issue of GALAxy, I was happy to accept. Because I need help, I need it bad, and I also need it NOW. So I asked people from various areas of the GALA world to express the main factors they see challenging and changing what we do and the way we do it. 

Until the 1990s, translators used the same tools they had been using for the previous 2000 years. The means of writing had changed, but for the most part, manual steps were required for almost everything. The same could be said for those who requested translations—the client.

The same cannot be said for the past 20 years. Everything has changed. The integration of media on the web, Intranets with Word apps and “followers,” chat rooms, the entry of the Internet of things, have created a whole new world. If you are brave (or nerdy), it is a wonderful one. But even if you keep up with the trends, it is easy to get google-eyed with the crazy, constant rush of translations in every imaginable format.

The move to this digital universe has not only accelerated the speed of communication. It has lit the fires for the development of a translation/localization infrastructure that tries to keep pace. Content management systems (CMS) are API-linked to translation management systems (TMS) wired to machine translation engines and what-do-we-pay-them?-post-editor groups. Our CMS is not yet fully integrated with our email system, and so the hunt is on for a connector, and while we’re at it, where’s the one button that translates everything at the speed of NOW?

If that’s not exactly the reality, that’s pretty much what it feels like, here on the client side.

And so when GALA asked me if I would guest edit this issue of GALAxy, I was happy to accept because I need help, I need it bad, and I also need it NOW.

What I wanted to learn was what clients want and what they need, from the perspective of experts in this new world. So I asked people from various areas of the GALA world to express the main factors they see challenging and changing what we do and the way we do it.

To start the discussion, we present the perspective from inside the client by Mai Ihara, the balancing act between clients and vendors by Rocío Haskell and David Serra, Dan Johnson, Katrina Nabavi, key discussions with clients and translators by Mike Karpa and Miya Yokomori, and from the crazily-paced machine translation (MT) and software side by Yee Lam Cook and Viviana Bertinetto, Ray Flournoy, Bob Kuhn, and Gerardo Laster.

Read them all, or just the ones that answer your unique questions:

While I enjoy the discussion on these topics in general, I was glad to have this opportunity to present the issues from the point of view of what I call “the client’s predicament.” They have helped me, I hope they will be of interest to you, and if you would like to send feedback, drop me a line. Any language should now be fine.

Andy Jones has been active in the translation industry since 1983, when he began translating Chinese newspapers (on a typewriter) for the Joint US Publications Research Service. After a 14 year stay in Japan, working as a translator for Mazda Motor Corp (going from pencil and paper to primitive memory systems), Andy returned to the United States, where he now heads translation and documentation at Nikon Precision Inc. (using web-based, API-linked tools). His leisure interest is classical Japanese maritime nomenclature.

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